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Friday, May 15, 2015

Dog Testing

My husband is allergic to small dogs, or so he says.

What he is actually allergic to is untrained small dogs. Little dogs that think they are equal to people. Little dogs that take over. Little dogs that always have something to say and are always saying it in shrill, yappy voices. Little dogs that are always on the furniture and even on the beds. Little dogs that bite visitors’ ankles and are allowed to get away with it. Little dogs that are always being told, “Oh! You’re so cute!” especially when they do something annoying to people who are allergic to small dogs.

We have someone in our household who went to an allergist and was tested and diagnosed with actual “dog allergy.” We asked about different kinds of dogs, dogs we’d been told were better for people who are allergic to dogs.

“No such thing,” said the allergist. “If it’s a dog, you are allergic to it, period.”

He did explain that smaller dogs, and dogs with shorter hair that are less apt to shed much, are kinder to people with allergies. It makes sense. The less dog there is, the less dog dander there would be floating about.

But a little dog! groaned my husband.

This week we have one of my sister’s three dogs visiting us as a test case to see how much of a reaction a big dog provokes. This dog is on the smaller side of big. She looks mostly like a Labrador Retriever, but she has something else in her that makes her smaller and gives her a little white stripe on her chest between her front legs. My sister says Doberman. I think Pit Bull.

She is the world’s sweetest dog. Her biggest problem is that she has chronic hæmophelia from some kind of bad heredity. It is only because my sister is a veterinarian that the dog’s life was saved from the first traumatically bad episode.

She is loyal, friendly, obedient, and does not come over to the table to beg during dinner. She goes and finds a rug to lie on and waits for someone to be free to come and pet her again. She is enjoying this week hugely, all the attention focused on her, no need to share with two other pushy, jealous dogs who always seem to crowd her out of the picture.

She is already defensive of our back yard. She chased all the birds out. She growled and all the hair on her back rose when the dog next door barked. I wish we could keep her, but she wants to go home to my sister. She misses her people although she likes us.

I hope the allergens she produces do not provoke a bad reaction this week. I might be allergic to little dogs too.

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